After Hardee got his tail handed to him from that Hawk, he grabbed a standby shuttle to get back to his home and pick up another Thrasher (or the Rupture I mentioned before, although it hadn’t been delivered yet). Autopilot in hi sec, Hardee had his map open looking at some potential areas, along with Dotlan in his browser. He glanced up and noticed a new chat window…WTF. Son of a bitch, he flew into an Incursion system. Not knowing what to expect, he slammed on the brakes and headed back to grab his trusty Rifter Redemption Lite. Hardee isn’t going into a war zone dumb and unarmed.

Well, after nosing around, he figured out it was the pre-invasion (pre-downtime update) setup, with all the lights and effects. The local chatter was surprisingly intelligent, and was really relegated to “what-is-to-come” talk.

After Hardee docked, he logged. His home system is fine and clear, and I needed to take a break. What about Ze & Kino’s place? I logged into Ze…

The annoying klaxon was going off in station. Oh you have to be freaking kidding me. The constellation Obray was to be invaded and I needed to get everyone in place. I had no idea how it would work, but I wasn’t going to stumble in unprepared. I noted that Hevrice is in Obray. I wonder if the Tuskers are going to join in the fun, being in the only low sec system in the constellation.

After the update, Ze logged in (after a VERY tedious day at work) to check things out. The “war” channel was full of ass-hat-ery , cluelessness, and confusion. Great. Obray is home to Clellinon and Clacille, which are two major Gallente newbie areas, so the heavy influx of n00bs was to be expected in-channel. But filtering through the much, I found that losses were heavy, even in high sec.

So, Ze got out Euryale the Myrmidon and fitted a nicely armor tanked ship (25k hp). Damage was to be done solely by drones, even though they were nerfed. Then again, what isn’t nerfed in an incursion? Dual armor reps (that ship still has no rigs…a shopping list is being made for our corpie in Jita) and some cap juice should keep her alive a long time. Some drone mods, and a sensor booster and racial ECCM rounded things out. I knew I was going to be jammed.

Before I drug the battlecruiser out of station, I jumped in a Helios to take a peek. Nothing on the gates. About every other belt had at least a cruiser sized ship and a frigate or two. Hmmm. I have never fought Sansha, and I didn’t think to look up damage types . Back in station Ze jumped in the BC, and checked on drones. Great. A smattering of Hob, Hornet and Warrior IIs, and 5 Hammerhead IIs. Meh, should be enough. I will use the Warriors (ok, I know now that Sansha damage is EM then Thermal…Next time Acolytes, Hobs, Hammers and Infiltrators.)

I zip out to the scouted belts, 50 km out. I turn on the signal booster and target the frigs. Holy cow, do they move fast and target right away! It took a bit to knock down the two frigs. I did have to turn on the ECCM (and it worked) as the frigs were jamming me. The cruiser was circling at about 20km, hammering away. Anywhere between 150 to 500 hp per volley, depending on my angles. I was flying in a box, since he could outrun me. Nice straight lines. When he got behind me, turn 90 degrees. Keeping up that transversal…

God damn are those ships hard to crack. I had the Hammerheads beating on him for some time. He had me to about 1/3 to ½ armor when he finally popped. I was staggering reps as I could only find cap 150s as someone…Kino…had all the larger caps locked up with his logistic setup in a different station. Something else for the shopping list. Shields took forever to bring down, with armor a bit easier, and structure being a cakewalk.

No drops. I recover quickly and then zip over to the next belt. Once I took care of the frigs, a small gang dropped in at 0. The cruiser disengaged and MWD right toward the other ships. Some frigs, cruiser, BC and logistics I believe. I should have taken note. For some odd reason I lost targeting, so I had to re-target as my drones wondered around. It almost looked like I disengaged when the cruiser left. I sent the drones back and helped finish the cruiser off.

No drops. There was wrecks of some silly newbie miners in Iterons. I quickly made the three Sansha wrecks blue. Sure enough, one of the gang had a salvage setup. I 07’d in local and left the belt. At least I know how strong they are. There is no way, no way at all, a single ship or small gang could complete a mission here. There is a slider bar at top of the screen showing how strong the Sansha nerfs are. Never got less than 100% (although the following day it did get down to 98% briefly).

In fact, a buddy messaged me with this :

“OK, so I think I’m missing the point of Incursion. Is it supposed to be fun? 4 of us went into a scout encounter – I’m the “new guy” with 35mil+ skill points (others been around since beta). 3 pods and one very trashed Slepy came out. Perhaps we all don’t know how to fly?

No, you know how to fly. It is just that these missions are ridiculously hard, and require medium sized gangs and small fleets to take out. The call in war-chat is for BCs and above, with logistics or spider tanks. We at Zurakaru LTD only fly Cruiser and below, with Ze the only BC pilot (and isn’t very good at it). Kino is a RR guy, but being limited to a Exequror might keep him out of the bigger fights.

I sporadically checked the belts in my salvage Cat the next day. I dropped a tractor beam to fit a protocloak. Warp to 100. Cloak. Bookmark. Go to next belt. Repeat. Sansha-less belts get salvaged. Not seeing anything from the Sansha attempts, but normal stuff from the downed capsuleers. And the cloak is needed. The Sansha start MWD to you immediately. At 100km, I’m out of targeting range it seems. So, I can sit there and watch if I want to.

Basically, the whole setup is for people who are bored with level 4 missions. The fact you have to complete all of them to get rewarded is bogus, too. Oh, and killing the Sansha resulted in 0 ISK, 0 sp, and 0 benefit, outside of a nice bump in security status, which Ze could care less about. No sense to even go into the belts. Those rats are there to prevent mining, that’s all.

I watched Dotlan and monitored the amount of ships lost. They are high. Manufacturers of ammo and ships are going to have a field day. Unfortunately, Zurakaru only makes shuttles, which aren’t dying in big numbers. That’s one of the many drawbacks of small, tiny operations. People are going to run out of dough and care real quick. Tonight’s patch supposedly will nerf Sansha control a bit, but I am not holding my breath. I am wondering how long this incursion will last in my system.

Due to Incursion, Hulkageddon has gotten real interesting. Hardee’s favorite area is completely Incursed, so miners are stacking up in adjacent systems. Pickings may be good, or nonexistent. We’ll see how it plays out. A good BS escort would allow mining operations to continue in Hulks, I’m sure. A little RR and they can hold their own in a 0.8 system. Ze will travel to 0.6 and 0.4 systems to check out the Sansha strength tonight. I wonder how many macro-bots got zapped by unexpected rat strength. I hope the looting was awesome.

I am really disappointed with CCP that Incursions were even considered a part of game play. They are meant for high skillpoint, larger corp folks. Not everyone plays that way in the sandbox. Stop trying to force people to play that way. Factional Warfare gives you the option, in a more ruthless play area. These are just high level missions spilling over into non-mission areas. I have no idea how this is panning out in the null sec world. Most likely, they are doing great. Sansha prevents cynos, so if you own a system with Sansha, all you have to do is keep the gates clear and you are completely protected. You normally have the resources for large fleets, so taking care of Sansha, if desired, would be a matter of course. The drops would solely be theirs, and they’d be significant drops for the 0.0 crowd.

Incursions are CCP crushing on 0.0, large corps, and fleet buddies. Independents, miners, small gang artists, low income corps, and newbies get the shaft. Again.

Thus, the feeling I get from CCP is:

Yeah, EVE Online is great! It is one big sandbox. But, if you want to do anything, you’d better be in a large corp that shoots a lot, preferably in 0.0 space. But it is a big sandbox! Although, you ain’t nobody unless you befriend a lot of people and fly with them. Still, it is a big sandbox! There is no wining in the game, but you need to do what we want you to do to have fun. But, hey, it is a big sandbox!

Methinks CCP has lost sight of what “sandbox” means.

 The term sandbox refers more to the mechanics of a game and how, as in a physical sandbox, the user is entertained by his ability to play creatively, boundless of artificial structural constraints, and with there being “no right way” of playing the game. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_game )


Fly like you’re in a big corp that shoots a lot…in a big sandbox.